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Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac (3.4GHz quad-core IntelCore i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory); PureMusic 1.87; Amarra 2.3; Audirvana Plus 1.3.q; April Music Eximus DP1; Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M; Audiophilleo 2
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane CV-181T tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X
: First Watt SIT1 monos, ModWright KWA 100SE
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Stereo
Tombo Trøn BNC/BNC coax
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: Itemized in review

Friday, March 23, 2012 1:21. Subject: Vue USB cables for your news room
. "Announcing new cable company Vue Cables from Queensland/Australia. Their primary  focus is the manufacture of quality USB audio  cables to connect computer and digital audio converter. Vue Cables are designed to address the importance of maintaining signal integrity by keeping noise out. All three Vu models have their 5-volt DC and data lines isolated from outside influences whilst the data lines are further isolated from the DC lines. Vue Cables are hand-built and offer excellent performance at affordable prices. The VU-1 is the entry-level cable whose 5-volt DC conductor sits in a foil shield while more foil shields go around each data line. The final cable is then surrounded by a metal braid. The VU-2  has its 5-volt DC isolated by a metal braid then uses ultra-pure continuous-cast Ohno copper that's been cryogenically treated for its data lines. Conductive carbon-infused nylon is applied over the cable to shield it from high-frequency noise up to 3GHz.

"The VU-3 is designed the same way as VU-2 but instead of copper uses ultra-pure continuous cast Ohno silver for its data lines. This high-purity dead-soft annealed silver wire is insulated with four alternating layers of natural unbleached cotton insulation. This makes minimal microscopic contact with the surface of the silver for less dielectric absorption even though cotton has an excellent dielectric constant of 1.3 to 1.4. The data lines are wrapped around a damping material but kept separate from each other. This avoids added capacitance from twisted conductors."  - Kevin Best

I'd already signed up for 2nd-opinion commentary to Frederic's review on Ocellia's €490 USB cable. Expanding that assignment with these Aussie wires promised more data points. What intrigued me about Vue cables was that the company had launched to focus on USB hifi wires when known aces like Chris Sommovigo still shun the genre. Naturally this type of review has veteran writers don their well-worn flame-retardent combat fatigues. Certain readers retaliate by dousing themselves in snake-oil repellent. They view digital signal as a simple matter of transferring 1s and 0s. Such square-wave data with theoretically even spacing shouldn't give a toss about conductor, dielectric, shielding or plug quality as long as the capacity is low enough to not slope off the wave form. Any throwaway computer wire with continuity should—and thus does—sound identical to our silly audiophile stuff. That lazy theory shields one from actual experience. Until the fateful day when the generic wire gets soundly trashed.

In the absence of a robust credible why which even engineering types could agree on, anyone keen on preserving their street cred would rather not talk about this subject. Ditto acoustic resonators, Schumann resonance boxes, wire directionality and the whole pesky lot. Enjoy in private. Keep stumm in public.

Add high(er) prices. Now the armed opposition protesteth in earnest. Self-appointed watch dogs. Save thy neighbor. And thyself while you're at it. Yet for others hope burns eternal. Inexplicables just might sound better. That plays to perennial lust. And there's need also to understand before believing and buying into. Hence desire for at least a somewhat plausible explanation. What happens in its silent absence is eventual anecdotal evidence. It long ago happened for all cables and amps sound alike. It happened for break-in, for cryogenics, for LP demag and CD photon treatments, for embedded software players like Amarra, Audirvana, PureMusic & Co. It's happened for many hifi things that shouldn't work or make any difference yet do.

And it's begun to happen for USB. Enough people hear a difference. Already mainstream suppliers from Audioquest to Crystal Cable, from Furutech to Nordost to WireWorld have gotten into the act. As computer audio becomes more ubiquitous, so USB cables will. Firewire might be on the way out. Thunderbolt is too new and Apple-specific to say yet but backing up my primary music library to a 2TB Thunderbolt drive shows how blazingly quick it is. The universal serial bus standard meanwhile seems to be the default interface between computers and DACs. Firewire-only Weiss now offers optional USB. Apogee Digital's popular Duet² has abandoned Firewire altogether. And why not? USB 2.0 is fully compliant already with streaming 24-bit/352.8kHz DXD files. Given that files of such huge data density and converters playing them without enforced downsampling are hen's teeth still, USB 2.0 is perfectly adequate for high-end 2-channel audio. It's a good time to be a USB cable. And a bad time for recalcitrant reviewers. Ouch!